My Days as an Athletic Supporter are Over, Damn it!
If you ask me, the state of professional sport in this country has become nothing less than damned embarrassing.
In my day athletes were real men. When they marched out onto the field of play they did so proudly and without fear. They didn’t hide themselves under a hundred pounds of military-grade protective armor – they capped their noggins with leather helmets, donned shoulder pads the thickness of kleenex and safeguarded their man-parts with hand-knit jockstraps.
They took their concussions head on and with pride – not like the mincing pretty boys today who despite their size and Kevlar shin guards fall to the ground like whinging schoolgirls the first time someone deviates their septum or kicks them in the goolies.
When I was a lad, we’d pause a game to look for a player’s misplaced eye but once it was found he was expected to pop it back in, put it on ice or toss it to the crowd and get on with the business at hand. These days, though, it seems that if a player gets his feelings hurt he’s off for a deep tissue massage, a sports psychology session and 16 weeks of gentle rehab. It’s ridiculous.
Professional athletes were role models in my day. They were poorly paid grinders without pensions or unions who were traded like chattel and drank like fish. They didn’t play sports as a means to riches. Lads played football for the camaraderie, the love of the game and as a socially acceptable way to explore their curiosity about showering with other men.
These days, though, athletes are overpaid, under-worked and hugely overvalued. They’re nothing but pampered, pituitary giants pumped up on a combination of steroids and sycophantic yes men. And if they aren’t lollygagging out on the field, they’re off enjoying recreational dog fights and sex orgies or making rap albums and filming asinine television adverts.
I want to see athletes pulling groins, damn it, not pushing shampoo or shilling for Pepsi cola. If I had any interest in watching wealthy, egotistical show ponies I’d tune in to C-span for Christ’s sake.
It used to be that a dad and his boy taking in a ball game was a national rite of passage but these days, thanks to moronic million-dollar contracts, access to a simple sporting event is cost-prohibitive for anyone unwilling to mortgage their home or sell a damned kidney.
We’ve lost all perspective and the time has come to strip professional athletes of their obscene salaries, ridiculous sense of self-importance and remind ourselves that sport was meant to be inclusive, accessible and – most of all – a god damned game.